Answering all the tough Detroit Red Wings questions heading into February

(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings, Jakub Vrana
(Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

Can Jakub Vrana earn his way back onto the Detroit Red Wings roster in’ 22-23?

On this one, I’m pleading the fifth because this is a situation where we very plainly have missing fundamental data here.

What do I mean? Now Vrana’s reason for heading into the NHLPA’s Player Assistance Program is certainly his own private business. Still, his and the coaching staff’s oblique, intentionally vague comments as to whether Jakub wants to have a future with the Detroit Red Wings organization has been perhaps the weirdest story of a weird season for me. Do the Detroit Red Wings have a place in the lineup for a 25-plus-goal-scorer? Of course, they do. Do the Detroit Red Wings have a spot in their lineup for Jakub Vrana?

Erm…Uh…If he wants to be there, which is almost impossible to tell because half the time it sounds like Vrana wants a fresh post-I-needed-some-help-so-I-got- some-help start anywhere except Detroit.

I don’t know if his heart and soul are still contractually obligated to the Detroit Red Wings. Usually, when you waive a guy of Vrana’s caliber, even with a year remaining on a $5+ million contract, you’re waiving him because you’ve already exhausted the trade market and found no takers, and that was my sense when Vrana was waived–that the GM absolutely exhausted his options to trade Vrana before offering a player of that kind of goal-scoring talent up to anybody who was willing to take him.

It’s not exactly “Something’s rotten in Denmark” here, but there’s some weird stuff going on that we don’t know about, and the vibes are just…Off.

That’s my technical explanation.

If the Detroit Red Wings make a splash and bring in a big-name player before the deadline, who do you think it will be?

Holy geez, I don’t see the Wings bringing in a big-name player before the deadline, period. I thought that Larkin and Perron’s pre-All-Star Break comments regarding “going on a run” to give GM Yzerman something to think about were intriguing, but I took those to mean, “So he doesn’t sell off the doors and the catalytic converter while the slightly beat-up mid-range automobile that the Red Wings competitively remain is still rolling down the road.”

It’d have to be either a disgruntled player with term remaining on his contract (Hello, Jakub Vrana? Except in reverse?) or somebody that is currently viewed as literally or figuratively “damaged goods.” I know that we can never rule anything out in terms of the YzerPlan moving in mysterious ways, but I don’t see a marquee addition happening here this season.